This is a travel blog, and it isn’t a place for politics, except where politics relates to the experiences of disabled travelers. This article is non-partisan.
Last night, President Donald Trump delivered his third State of the Union address to the United States Congress and the American people. You can watch the SOTU below (the President enters the chamber at 46:30). A full transcript is available here.
During his one hour, 18 minutes-long address, President Trump used the word “inclusion” several times. After the speech, I shared the following reaction on my personal Facebook profile, which I believe is worth sharing here as well.
A note to both parties: There can’t be inclusion without accessibility.
What many of my friends do not understand is that I am not entirely representative of my community. I am able to excel in spite of the (frequently illegal) barriers I face. Not everyone can do that. Few can.
If you want to know how bad it is out there, read my blog. I use my platform to advocate for those who remain excluded.
Then imagine the same reality of exclusion applied to the workplace. It’s just as bad, if not worse.
And ask yourself, why is just about every ADA coordinator, diversity manager and accessibility lead able-bodied? Disabled people aren’t even included there.
The last point is an issue that I have raised repeatedly, that those who are setting disability policy in corporations and government, and those overseeing compliance with and/or enforcement of critical civil rights protections for disabled people are, by and large, able-bodied.
Accessibility is the first step towards a disability-inclusive society, and our continued exclusion from the roles that impact accessibility, diversity and inclusion are making us prisoners to the unacceptable status quo.
Maybe that’s intentional? Of course it is.
Featured image courtesy Leah Millis/Pool via AP.